Are you the caretaker for a picky eater senior citizen? With an aging baby boomer population, many Gen X children and older millennials are now looking after an aging parent.
As your parents get older, it’s natural that you’ll want to go out of your way to make sure they’re eating well and are comfortable. As they age, they may not have the energy to prepare healthy foods and lose their appetites. They might even have other issues such as missing teeth can make mealtimes less enjoyable.
Having someone who follows up on their diet ensures they’re eating the right amounts of food to help them achieve their nutrition goals. Not getting enough nutrition from their diet can lead to more health concerns. How do you deal with a picky eater?
Plan the Meals Together
Many seniors are conscious that they’re losing their independence, and when you involve them in deciding the meal plan, they’ll be more cooperative. Give them different healthy options to choose from and note their favorite meals. If possible, let them participate in the meal preparation. They’ll feel more in control of their diet and will be eager to eat the food they’ve prepared.
Include Delicious But Healthy Options for a Picky Eater Senior
A sickness, certain medications, and boredom can lower the appetite of a picky eater senior citizen. But going out of your way to prepare delicious options encourages them to eat. Think of oven-baked baby back ribs recipe and any other delicacies they will love. You can even give them a treat for finishing the food.
When serving the food, ask them how they like it- extra hot or warm. You can even add a little bit of a favorite dressing, pepper, or other seasonings to improve the taste and encourage them to eat more. Also, serve smaller portions but have the meals more frequently.
Allow them to snack on fruits and vegetables, but refrain from giving out sweets because they can lead to tooth decay and blood sugar issues. However, adjust the menu accordingly to accommodate any special dietary needs or restrictions. Working with a dietician can help when you need advice on healthy meal plans.
Keep Mealtimes Interesting
It’s boring when you have to take your meals alone locked in your room. Many people, as they age, love the company of their loved ones. Having meals together will encourage them to eat more. Even if it’s just one meal a day you share, it will make them more social, happier, and more willing to eat more.
Also, keep the environment where they have their meals interesting. If they love the outdoors and nature, design a unique dinner table in your garden where you can occasionally have your meals. Keeping their mealtimes happy, a time to socialize and have fun, makes them look forward to eating.
The more active you are, the hungrier you’ll get. Sitting all day is not challenging enough to make your loved one get hungry often. Encourage them to go for walks, take up safe and manageable physically demanding activities and get involved in family activities.
When their days are busy, they’ll tend to eat more because they’re using more energy. When they’re sick and bedridden, take them out for a walk in a wheelchair or invite their favorite friends to share a meal.
If everything fails, consult their doctor. Perhaps a health condition or medication is affecting their appetite.